We have performed freeze-fracture replica immunogold labelling of endotoxin preparations (lipid A and deep rough mutant LPS Re from Salmonella enterica sv. Minnesota), i.e. adding the endotoxins to human monocytes, labelling with monoclonal Abs recognizing either lipid A or LPS Re (A6 and A20 respectively), and fixing with immunogold secondary Ab. We have found that the endotoxins intercalated into the cell membranes with subsequent internalization by the cells. Surprisingly, membrane uptake took place only in the inner, plasmic leaflet of the plasma membrane, but there was no uptake of the outer leaflet for both compounds. Remarkable labelling could be also found for the two membranes of the nuclear envelope-in the case of lipid A only at the plasmic leaflet, but in the case of LPS Re on both leaflets. Isothermal calorimetric titration of the AB A20 with LPS and phospholipids showed that the Ab may bind not only to LPS but also to negatively charged phosphatidylserine. These results are discussed in the frame of the published concepts of cell activation induced by the endotoxins, i.e. how they are able to cause a conformational change of signalling proteins, such as the TLR4/MD2 complex.
The interaction of selected endotoxin preparations (lipid A from Erwinia carotovora and LPS Re and Ra from Salmonella enterica sv. Minnesota strains R595 and R60, respectively) with selected bile acids was investigated biophysically. Endotoxin aggregates were analyzed for their gel-to-liquid crystalline phase behavior, the type of their aggregates, the conformation of particular functional groups, and their Zeta potential in the absence and presence of the bile acids by applying Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, measurements of the electrophoretic mobility, and synchrotron radiation X-ray scattering. In addition, the ability of the endotoxins to induce cytokines in human mononuclear cells was tested in the absence and presence of varying concentrations of bile acids. The data show that the endotoxin:bile acid interaction is not governed by Coulomb forces, rather a hydrophobic interaction takes place. This leads to an enhanced formation of the inherent cubic aggregate structures of the endotoxins, concomitant with a slight disaggregation, as evidenced by freeze-fracture electron microscopy. Parallel to this, the addition of bile acids increased the bioactivity of lipid A and, to a lower degree, also that of the tested rough mutant LPS at lower concentrations of the endotoxin preparation, a finding similar as reported for the interaction of other agents such as hemoglobin. These data imply that there are general mechanisms that govern the expression of biological activities of endotoxins.
We have studied the dynamic and rheological properties in the single-phase channels of a microemulsion system with a mixed anionic/nonionic surfactant system and decane from the aqueous to the oil phase. One isotropic channel, called the "upper" channel, begins at the L(3) phase (sponge-like phase) of the binary surfactant mixture on the water side and passes with a shallow minimum for the surfactant composition to the oil side. The other "lower" single-phase channel begins at the micellar L(1) phase and ends in the middle of the phase diagram. Both isotropic channels are separated by a huge anisotropic single phase L(?) channel that reaches from the water side to 90% of oil in the solvent mixture. The structural relaxation time of the viscous fluids could be measured with electric birefringence (EB) measurements, where a signal is caused by the deformation of the internal nanostructure of the fluids by an electric field. For the L(3) phase, the EB signal can be fitted with a single time constant. With increasing oil in the upper channel, the main structural relaxation time passes over a maximum and correlates with the viscosity. Obviously, this time constant controls the viscosity of the fluid (?(o) = G·?). It is remarkable that the longest structural relaxation time increases three decades, and the viscosity increases two decades when 10% of oil is solubilized into the L(3) phase. Conductivity data imply that the fluid in the upper channel has a bicontinuous structure from the L(3) phase to the microemulsion with only 10% oil. In this oil range, the conductivity decreases three decades, and the electric birefringence signals are complicated because of a superposition of up to three processes. For higher oil ratios, the structure obviously changes to a HIPE (high internal phase emulsion) structure with water droplets in the oil matrix.
Bacterial endotoxins (lipopolysaccharides (LPS)) are strong elicitors of the human immune system by interacting with serum and membrane proteins such as lipopolysaccharide-binding protein (LBP) and CD14 with high specificity. At LPS concentrations as low as 0.3 ng/ml, such interactions may lead to severe pathophysiological effects, including sepsis and septic shock. One approach to inhibit an uncontrolled inflammatory reaction is the use of appropriate polycationic and amphiphilic antimicrobial peptides, here called synthetic anti-LPS peptides (SALPs). We designed various SALP structures and investigated their ability to inhibit LPS-induced cytokine secretion in vitro, their protective effect in a mouse model of sepsis, and their cytotoxicity in physiological human cells. Using a variety of biophysical techniques, we investigated selected SALPs with considerable differences in their biological responses to characterize and understand the mechanism of LPS inactivation by SALPs. Our investigations show that neutralization of LPS by peptides is associated with a fluidization of the LPS acyl chains, a strong exothermic Coulomb interaction between the two compounds, and a drastic change of the LPS aggregate type from cubic into multilamellar, with an increase in the aggregate sizes, inhibiting the binding of LBP and other mammalian proteins to the endotoxin. At the same time, peptide binding to phospholipids of human origin (e.g., phosphatidylcholine) does not cause essential structural changes, such as changes in membrane fluidity and bilayer structure. The absence of cytotoxicity is explained by the high specificity of the interaction of the peptides with LPS.
Lipopolysaccharides (LPSs) from Gram-negative bacteria are strong elicitors of the human immune systems. There is strong evidence that aggregates and not monomers of LPS play a decisive role at least in the initial stages of cell activation of immune cells such as mononuclear cells. In previous reports, it was shown that the biologically most active part of enterobacterial LPS, hexa-acyl bisphosphorylated lipid A, adopts a particular supramolecular conformation, a cubic aggregate structure. However, little is known about the size and morphology of these aggregates, regarding the fact that LPS may have strong variations in the length of the saccharide chains (various rough mutant and smooth-form LPS). Thus, in the present paper, several techniques for the determination of details of the aggregate morphology such as freeze-fracture and cryo-electron microscopy, analytical ultracentrifugation, laser backscattering analysis, and small-angle X-ray scattering were applied for various endotoxin (lipid A and different LPS) preparations. The data show a variety of different morphologies not only for different endotoxins but also when comparing different applied techniques. The data are interpreted with respect to the suitability of the single techniques, in particular on the basis of available literature data.
We performed mass-per-length (MPL) measurements and electron cryomicroscopy (cryo-EM) with 3D reconstruction on an Abeta(1-42) amyloid fibril morphology formed under physiological pH conditions. The data show that the examined Abeta(1-42) fibril morphology has only one protofilament, although two protofilaments were observed with a previously studied Abeta(1-40) fibril. The latter fibril was resolved at 8 A resolution showing pairs of beta-sheets at the cores of the two protofilaments making up a fibril. Detailed comparison of the Abeta(1-42) and Abeta(1-40) fibril structures reveals that they share an axial twofold symmetry and a similar protofilament structure. Furthermore, the MPL data indicate that the protofilaments of the examined Abeta(1-40) and Abeta(1-42) fibrils have the same number of Abeta molecules per cross-beta repeat. Based on this data and the previously studied Abeta(1-40) fibril structure, we describe a model for the arrangement of peptides within the Abeta(1-42) fibril.
Caveolae were defined as flask- or omega-shaped plasma membrane invaginations, abundant in adipocytes, fibroblasts, endothelial and smooth muscle cells. The major protein component of caveolar membranes is an integral membrane protein named caveolin. We compared the freeze-fracture behavior of caveolae in glutaraldehyde-fixed and cryofixed mouse fibroblast cells and found distinct differences. In glutaraldehyde-fixed cells almost all caveolae were cross-fractured through their pore and only very few caveolar membranes were membrane-fractured. We found the reverse situation in rapid frozen cells without any chemical fixation where most of the caveolae were membrane-fractured, showing different degrees of invagination from nearly flat to deeply invaginated. In ultrathin sections of glutaraldehyde-fixed heart endothelial cells, caveolae exhibit the well known omega-like shape. In high-pressure frozen, freeze-substituted and low temperature embedded heart endothelial cells, the caveolae frequently exhibit a cup-like shape without any constriction or pore. The cup-like caveolar shape could also be shown by tilt series analysis of freeze-fracture replicas obtained from cryofixed cells. Freeze-fracture immunolabeling of caveolin-1 revealed a lateral belt-like caveolin alignment. These findings point out that the constricted "neck" region of caveolae in most cases is an effect that is caused and intensified by the glutaraldehyde fixation. Our data indicate that caveolae in vivo show all degrees of invagination from nearly flat via cup-like depressed to in a few cases omega-like.
This article provides detailed insight into the thermoresponsive gelation mechanism of industrially produced methylcellulose (MC), highlighting the importance of diblock structure with a hydrophobic sequence of 2,3,6-tri-O-methyl-glucopyranosyl units for this physicochemical property. We show herein, for the first time, that well-defined diblock MC self-assembles thermoresponsively into ribbonlike nanostructures in water. A cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM) technique was used to detect the ribbonlike nanostructures formed by the diblock copolymers consisting of hydrophilic glucosyl or cellobiosyl and hydrophobic 2,3,6-tri-O-methyl-cellulosyl blocks, methyl ?-D-glucopyranosyl-(1?4)-2,3,6-tri-O-methyl-celluloside 1 (G-236MC, DP(n) = 10.7, DS = 2.65), and methyl ?-D-glucopyranosyl-(1?4)-?-D-glucopyranosyl-(1?4)-2,3,6-tri-O-methyl-celluloside 2 (GG-236MC, DP(n) = 28.2, DS = 2.75). Rheological measurements revealed that the gel strength of a dispersion of GG-236MC (2, 2.0 wt %) in water at 70 °C was 3.0 times stronger than that of commercial MC SM-8000, although the molecular weight of GG-236MC (2) having M(w) = 8 × 10(3) g/mol was 50 times smaller than that of SM-8000 having M(w) = 4 × 10(5) g/mol. Cryo-TEM observation suggested that the hydrogel formation of the diblock copolymers could be attributed to the entanglement of ribbonlike nanostructures self-assembled by the diblock copolymers in water. The cryo-TEM micrograph of GG-236MC (2) at 5 °C showed rectangularly shaped nanostructures having a thickness from 11 to 24 nm, although G-236MC (1) at 20 °C showed no distinct self-assembled nanostructures. The ribbonlike nanostructures of GG-236MC (2) having a length ranging from 91 to 864 nm and a thickness from 8.5 to 27.1 nm were detected above 20 °C. Small-angle X-ray scattering measurements suggested that the ribbonlike nanostructures of GG-236MC (2) consisted of a bilayer structure with a width of ca. 40 nm. It was likely that GG-236MC (2) molecules were oriented perpendicularly to the long axis of the ribbonlike nanostructure. In addition, wide-angle X-ray scattering measurements revealed that GG-236MC (2) in its hydrogel formed the same crystalline regions as 2,3,6-tri-O-methylcellulose. The influence of the DP of diblock MC with a DS of around 2.7 on the gelation behavior will be discussed.
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